On View November 30 through December 3rd, 2022
Curated by Jon Santos of Ontopo
NADA Miami: 1400 North Miami Avenue
View available works here.
Ontopo is pleased to present new works by Sean Connelly and Nanea Lum, two artists born in Hawai’i whose practices center land and ecology, climate activism, Native Hawaiian forms of knowledge and cultural sovereignty.
Lum’s work utilizes a deep historical consciousness and recovery of Indigenous materials to produce research-based, labor-intensive presentations of kapa, a Hawaiian wauke beaten bark fiber. With a firm grounding in responsibility and intimacy surrounding materials, Lum harvests, processes, and screen prints on the kapa using collaborative and traditional craft methods. Folding contemporary arts practice into ritual experiences that express gratitude for nature's participation in the artwork, Lum’s kapa series foregrounds the earth as a pedagogical space and artistic medium.
With attention to architecture and urbanism, Connelly’s sculptural work All Architects are Bad (2022) probes the triplicate histories of American militarization, urban development, and tourism in Hawai’i. The work’s title references the anti-policing slogan ACAB (“All Cops Are Bastards”) to challenge contemporary spaces that oppress indigenous thinking by channeling humor and joy as insurgent forces. All Architects are Bad speaks to the complex relationship and respect that Native Hawaiians have to their watersheds or Ahupua`a, while positting new methodologies for architectures that advance justice.
Together, both artists resist the marginalization of Hawaiian traditions and instead draw creative dialogues offshore toward such sources of geographical and ecological knowledge. The works on view can be seen as situated in two temporal lenses: Connelly’s forward-looking, contemporary materiality is coupled with Lum’s historic recovery of Indigenous processes, together forming a cyclical conversation about the continuum of environmental extraction and climate crises. In their simultaneous celebration and critique of relationships to land, the conversations Lum and Connelly’s artistic practices engage in become ever urgent.
Sean Connelly (b. 1984) is a founding board member of Protect Our Ala Wai Watersheds (POAWW), a grassroots advocacy group that successfully sued the State of Hawai‘i to halt a United States Army Corps of Engineers proposal to build seven detention basins in the last remaining native portion of a stream in Waikīkī in 2019. Current installations include a sculpture at Thomas Square commissioned by the City and County of Honolulu Arts Commission (2021). Connelly’s sculptures have been included in exhibitions at the Honolulu Museum of Art, the Honolulu Biennial, and the Akron Art Museum. His work has been referenced in numerous scholarly works including Art Journal, BLDGBLOG, Pacific Arts Journal, Places Journal, and more. Sean holds a Doctorate in Architecture from the University of Hawai‘i, a Master's in Design from the Harvard Graduate School of Design.
Nanea Lum (b. 1991) is based in Honolulu, Hawai’i. She earned her MFA from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa and is currently the artist in residence at Single Double. She is the active coordinating director of GRRIC Contemporary at the Art Building at University of Hawai’ii at Mānoa. Her work has shown at institutions such as Hawai’i State Art Museum, Mission House Museum, Aupuni Space, and elsewhere.
The booth is curated by Jon Santos (b. 1973), Filipino American artist and founder of Ontopo. Having found its beginnings in 2015 at Bak Lim Sa Monastery in upstate New York, Ontopo is a speculative art platform developed through artist-led retreats that engage sacred spaces as venues for creative production and performance. Each project centers the temple as a physical space that uniquely fosters human relationships with both unseen forces and land, or topography. Ontopo facilitates intentional spaces for creative communities to realize multidisciplinary projects, artworks, performances, and experiences in order to further foster connections to land, ecology, and the sacred.
For more information, please visit www.ontopo.net.
For press inquiries, please contact Jon Santos at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Follow and tag Ontopo on Instagram: @on_topo
Follow and tag Nanea Lum and Sean Connelly on Instagram: @nanealum @seanwconnelly